Every year, as summer winds down, Recycla goes into her “Little House on the Prairie” mode. This is when she starts preparing for the cold months as if it were the Long Winter, even though she lives within walking distance of her little city’s downtown. Recycla grew up with grandparents who had a massive garden and spent the summer months canning and freezing the bounty, and for her, old mental habits die hard.
Okay, so Recycla exaggerates a teeny bit. That said, the coming four months are the busiest time of the year for her family (birthdays, soccer season, holidays, and more), so she does make a point to do a little extra prep in the kitchen in order to be prepared for nearly everything:
Recycla’s herb garden is chock-full of savory goodness, so she’s been preserving some of that bounty. She has a bumper crop of basil and has been making basil paste to store in the freezer — this winter, those little green cubes will add a lot of flavor to her spaghetti sauces and other foods. She’s also drying other herbs to have on hand too, including oregano and rosemary. If you are interested in drying herbs, do a Google search to find easy tips and lots of advice.
Recycla’s garden didn’t do very well in Virginia’s excessive summer heat this year, so she has had to turn to local markets to get tomatoes and other tastes of the season. Her daughters love corn on the cob, but since they both have braces, creamed corn has been how the family has been enjoying those delicious yellow kernels this summer. With corn so inexpensive these days, Recycla has been cutting the corn from the cobs and freezing it so that there will be plenty on hand in the coming months. It’s nearly apple and pumpkin seasons in Virginia too, and Recycla expects to get plenty of those in the freezer as well.
There are plenty of other frozen yummies in Recycla’s kitchen already, including blueberries and cherries from earlier in the summer. She also has a bag of stale bread ready to be made into bread crumbs at some point in the near future.
Recycla has done some baking recently and made brownies for her daughters’ lunch boxes and muffins for them to snack on. She cut the brownies into individual bite size servings and froze them, as well as tossed the muffins in a container in the freezer too. When the girls pack their lunches at night, they pull out what they want from the freezer and everything’s defrosted by the next day.
And, because Recycla has a close relative whose long battle with cancer is expected to come to a sad close soon, she has been preparing meals for her family in anticipation of those days when she can’t cook. (Plus, Recycla nests when she’s stressed.) She roasted a couple of chickens, pulled off all the meat, and froze it in smaller containers — later on, she can add the chicken to soups or casseroles. She did the same with a pot roast and a pork roast — the beef will be used to make Cornish pasties and empanadas and the pork will go into enchiladas and other spicy Tex-Mex dishes. She made a large batch of meatballs and spaghetti sauce and froze them too. As soon as it gets cooler, she’ll make soups and freeze them as well. So on those days when she’s really busy or when she’s at the hospital, dinner will pretty much make itself.
In the pantry, Recycla made sure she had several boxes of pasta, dried beans to be slow-cooked, lots of flour and other baking supplies, and more. She’s ready for almost anything, short of an actual blizzard.
How are all these actions earth-friendly? Honestly, all this is more to make life a little easier for Recycla. That said, by having food on hand, Recycla won’t have to resort to McCrap or delivered foods, which are unhealthy for one’s body and wallet, as well as Planet Earth.
Tell the Eco Women: Do you stock up for the winter? What’s in your freezer and pantry now?